To date, Sprout Studio is the only CRM that has custom pronoun fields in our software. We didn’t feel that simply having this feature was enough, so we set out to help educate and inform photographers on the importance of normalizing pronouns in business.
If you haven’t already, learn why photographers are adding pronouns in their business to better understand the topics discussed here.
In order to represent the voice of Sprout Studio users, Jules, our Partnership and Outreach Coordinator conducted 5 interviews with photographers who have pronouns throughout their business. Included in those interviews was Stephanie Rose (she/her)…
Who is Stephanie?
Stephanie Rose (she/her) grew up with a family of business owners, giving her an entrepreneurial mindset that seems to come as naturally as her creativity. After she attended culinary school, Stephanie spent years shaping her incredibly resilient work ethic while working as a chef.
Once she began having children, Stephanie decided to hang up her chef’s hat to focus on raising her family. This change of pace ended up launching her journey to becoming a photographer.
As Stephanie began casually capturing memories of her children for fun, others took notice and started asking her to photograph them as well.Stephanie was able to utilize a skill set she’s developed from a young age, allowing her to seamlessly focus on both the creative and business sides of photography.
Stephanie specialized in birth photography for most of her career, explaining how growing up surrounded by entrepreneurial-driven people taught her how to be creative in high-pressure situations. And birth is probably one of the more high-pressure environments for photographers, because as Stephanie says, “if you miss it, that’s not happening again. You can’t say, hey, can you redo that shot?”.
Like most photographers, Stephanie shifted gears in her business during the pandemic. She went from birth photography to branding photography, and started teaching social media courses for photographers – which you can find here!
The Power of Pronouns
When asked what drew her to participate in this project, Stephanie confidently answered:
“I work a lot with people in the LGBTQIA+ community and it’s super important, especially for people who are not fully out or who haven’t told everybody, that they know I’m a safe place they can say their actual pronouns. That’s really something people search for.”
Stephanie says normalizing pronoun usage is a necessary step to help others feel accepted in all areas of life, expressing her frustration when people often refuse to try and make the effort:
“It’s not that hard, it doesn’t mean that you’re radical or anything…using pronouns just means that you give a sh** about human decency.”
She touches on the importance of choosing our words carefully, especially when it comes to setting a good example for her kids:
“I do this a lot because I have kids. I always start off with ‘they’ if I don’t know who they are or what [pronouns] they prefer. That’s my default now. Just leave it open and then if somebody has a preference, great, we can roll from there.”
Why are pronouns important in business?
“I think a lot of photographers like to stick to the one mom one dad thing. That’s what people want to show. So if you don’t fit into that little box, it’s definitely hard to find someone who can show you as you are.”
“If you have a photographer who won’t see you as you, and capture you as you, then there’s no point.”
Stephanie has her pronouns prominently displayed throughout her website and social media pages, plus in her email signature and Zoom name. She agrees that it’s important to avoid making assumptions about our clients or colleagues and sharing your pronouns helps create space for others to feel comfortable sharing theirs:
“Especially if you present as somebody who is cis-hetero and fits in that mould. People don’t always know if you’re the kind of person who’s gonna be like…that’s awesome, these are my pronouns.”
Stephanie emphasizes how we must lead by example and start using more inclusive language, recalling a recent experience in a group course:
“All of the people in the group were female, except for one non-binary person. And the group started off with a lot of chatter about ‘being a girl boss’ and that kind of stuff. So as the group leader, I had to be like, okay listen up, not everybody here is a girl boss or girl. So let’s talk about ways that we can say humans, people… there are other ways that you can address a group without saying ‘girls’. It just excludes people.”
“Even when people stand up and say ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘girls and boys’…can we just cut that crap out? There’s no need for that anymore.”
“I have done a lot of research in reading about [gender] throughout my life and it’s not an old system. All the very old systems had so many varieties of gender, Indigenous people have so many different ways to categorize gender.”
“All of this has been brought on in the past couple hundred years and is just beat into people so now they’re like, we can’t think of anything else. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be and I think we’re heading to a space where it’s going to be a lot better.”
When asked what she hopes readers will take away from this interview, Stephanie said:
“That my business is a safe place for all people, no matter what flavour or whatever you got going on. I understand if you’re moving from one thing to another, understand I am here and I want to be able to capture you the way you feel on the inside and show it on the outside.”
“Using pronouns just means that you give a sh** about human decency” -Stephanie Rose
Other Impactful Stories
Check out our other interviews with equally inspirational, yet beautifully unique stories about pronoun use and gender identity!